Mini Shastri is a yoga exponent and wellness advisor. She speaks to Guardian 20 about her career.
Q. You have taken yoga to another level in India. Tell us about your journey.
A. I’m deeply intrigued by the traditional wisdom and treasures of ancient Indian health and wellness. It’s insatiable for me and I love connecting the dots between Ayurveda, naturopathy and yogic practices as well as philosophy. Using this wisdom and folding these into my daily living, one ritual at a time, assimilating, observing their effect on my body and energy before introducing it further continued to earn my respect towards how these were passed on verbally, recorded in sutras, vedic knowledge and practices recorded in various texts. The idea is to make these practices relevant and easy to understand and implement them in today’s world.
Q. You delve into the techniques and benefits of yoga in your classes, workshops and retreats. Share some insights with us as well.
A. Sometimes an asana class format and limitation of time in everyday yoga session does not allow me to cover the vast subject of yoga in its entirety. This was the reason to move towards retreats. Some of the students were ready for more and I wanted to take these teachings into the healing, transformational setting of pure nature. Firstly, choice of destination for workshops takes a lot of care and a bit of fuss. The hotels have to get the philosophy of a wellness retreat which immediately cuts most hotels out of the running. Then there are meals and curated diets that support and add value to the healing and cleansing itinerary.
Q. You are an authority on wellness space. What entails that?
A. I start with kriyas from the six shatkarmas. There are six cleansing techniques in Hatha Yoga. These are purifications and cleansing in their essence which make yogic practices easier to absorb and help clear stagnant prana to make space for better energy distribution. Nasyam, breathing techniques, tratak practices, modern-day enemas ( laghu prakshalan), havans, fire homa, jal neti to name a few. There’s yoga, meditation, diet , curated talk on various subjects and lots of good clean sanghas around svastha, or good health.
Q. How did you get your children to practice yoga?
A. When my oldest daughter, now 24 was in primary school, teaching a bunch of children made it far easier for me to enthuse her towards yoga. Soon, yoga sessions for kids became really popular and I was constantly creating new material for children as the language of teaching children is very different from teaching adults. I got two offers for a book and I was happy that my entire class of kids were my stars in it. My co-author Neeha Singh was a parent in class .
Q. Share some beauty and health advice with us.
A. The first few important ones that come quickly to my mind are:
Do not underestimate the importance of sleeping on time (before 11 pm) and rising with the sun. Nature has designed these hours for a certain function i.e. repair and rest. Morning is a time of transition and a short window of time to ground oneself with uplifting practices that should be done daily before adding new ones. Good habits are grounding, hence referred as Dinacharya, which means a prescribed good code of conduct. Ayurveda suggests these to cultivate discipline, remove habits that don’t serve us, and enhances creativity and mindfulness in whichever field one is in.
Drink warm herbal teas after 1 pm and remove caffeine after that time, shifting to Tisanes post lunch.
Don’t burn both sides of the candle. Take meaningful pauses, meditate every day.